The more clearly one sees the world, the more one is obliged to pretend it does not exist.
The writer has a fundamental responsibility to write well or to write the best he can, because if he doesn’t he’s not a writer. And when a writer writes, he’s always referring to a social and historical context. It’s impossible for Argentinian writers not to write as Argentinians, because to be Argentinian is a circumstance of fate, like it is to be Cuban. When you analyze the bourgeois writer’s novel, you see the shortcomings of bourgeois society. Even when you try to write a fantasy story, in some way that fantasy is going to be connected to a reality. But regardless, if someone is a true writer—not an opportunist who wants to be in favor with the government of the day—that person is always going to be for freedom. Because the simple truth is that without freedom, the writer cannot exist. And the writer who is for freedom is, by definition, not for any totalitarian system. So the duty of the writer is to write well and champion freedom. And he champions freedom because he has an obligation—what better obligation than this?
Dorothy, A Publishing Project
ANA PATOVA CROSSED A BRIDGE by Renee Gladman
THE COMPLETE TALES OF MERRY GOLD by Kate Bernheimer
THE VIRGINS by Pamela Erens
SPECTACLE by Susan Steinberg
Two Dollar Radio
HOW TO GET INTO THE TWIN PALMS by Karolina Waclawiak
KIND ONE by Laird Hunt
A BEAUTIFUL TRUTH by Colin McAdam
Short Flight/Long Drive (Hobart)
EVEN THOUGH I DON’T MISS YOU by Chelsea Martin
THE CONSUMMATION OF DIRK by Jonathan Callahan
LAYMAN’S REPORT by Eugene Marten
University of Iowa Press
LUNGS FULL OF NOISE by Tessa Mellas
THE CUCUMBER KING OF KEDAINAI by Wendell Mayo
Origami Zoo Press
AN ELEGY FOR MATHEMATICS by Anne Valente
Alice James Books
MEZZANINES by Matthew Olzmann
Civil Coping Mechanisms
THE NATURAL DISSOLUTION OF FLEETING-IMPROVISED-MEN by Gabriel Blackwell
Future Tense Books
I WAS A FAT DRUNK CATHOLIC SCHOOL INSOMNIAC by Jamie Iredell
THREE SCENARIOS IN WHICH HANA SASAKI GROWS A TAIL by Kelly Luce
THE DESERT PLACES by Amber Sparks and Robert Kloss
YOU GOOD THING by Dara Wier
HYMN FOR THE BLACK TERRIFIC by Kiki Petrosino
ACTIVITIES by John Dermot Woods
Wayne State University Press
AMERICAN SALVAGE by Bonnie Jo Campbell
Note: I limited myself to one book per press, choosing from books that are already released and that I read or am currently reading this year. There are lots of other worthy books from all of these presses and many more presses and authors I could have mentioned, but hopefully this will be a useful start for anyone looking to support independent literature this year.
I’m likely not the only writer who feels this way, but one of the most difficult aspects of writing is navigating the waves: the waves of rejection, the waves of success, the long stretches where nothing at all happens. I think it’s easy to get caught up in this, and I’ve learned that the best way to handle this rollercoaster—and the most rewarding part of writing, coincidentally—is to just stay focused on the page, on getting the words down. There’s frustration in sitting down to write every day, in facing the page on your own. But there’s also tremendous gratification in it: puzzling through the structure, getting the language right, making the pieces fit. The process itself is the most rewarding part of writing, and for me, it always blocks out the noise of waves.
If writing a novel has taught me anything it has taught me this: I will never again say ‘I am finishing a novel’ or ‘I’m almost done with my novel’ or ‘This is it! The last draft!’ or ‘I’m getting really close!’ Every time I have ever said, or even thought, any of those things the endpoint has almost immediately receded before me, mirage-like.
It’s a cycle. You start a story, and it’s stupid. You don’t have any ideas. You’re washed up. Finished. And then you get a sliver of an idea, but it’s kind of dumb. Ugh. Then you start working it, and it becomes, oh, maybe. Alright. Yeah, I am going to finish this story. I did finish it! It’s not terrible! [Then] you don’t have any ideas. Is that what life is? It’s just a series of enacting the cycle. Lately, it’s become kind of wonderful to say, ‘Yeah, so now I’m at the point where I don’t have any ideas. Is is a crisis? No, it’s not a crisis. You’ve been here before. And maybe even you could enjoy that moment when you’re bereft of ideas… The goal would be to keep enacting that [cycle], live to 190, and put the period on the best story ever.
Fantasy is a natural human activity. It certainly does not destroy or even insult Reason; and it does not either blunt the appetite for, nor obscure the perception of, scientific verity. On the contrary. The keener and the clearer is the reason, the better fantasy will it make. If men were ever in a state in which they did not want to know or could not perceive truth (facts or evidence), then Fantasy would languish until they were cured. If they ever get into that state (it would not seem at all impossible), Fantasy will perish, and become Morbid Delusion.
For creative Fantasy is founded upon the hard recognition that things are so in the world as it appears under the sun; on a recognition of fact, but not a slavery to it. So upon logic was founded the nonsense that displays itself in the tales and rhymes of Lewis Carroll. If men really could not distinguish between frogs and men, fairy-stories about frog-kings would not have arisen.
Well, I don’t [begin] by willing it. And there’s a mysterious element, a magical element, right? And it’s not reducible. A lot of the process is positioning yourself to receive the moment of magic when it deigns to come to you.
Sound, yes, but something is happening in the sentence that is meant to captivate from both a visual and plot standpoint. My stories may be musically arranged but there is also event, there is also action.